NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

WRIGHT AMENDMENT IS WRONG SOLUTION

April 22, 2005

An odd federal law that protects the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport from competition from much smaller Love Field in Dallas is felt in Tampa, where tickets to Dallas are overpriced. The law needs to be repealed, says the Tampa Tribune.

Reform is unlikely to come from Texas itself, because Texas politicians who ought to know better, including Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), are afraid to tinker with the 26-year-old Wright Amendment. It's named for its author, Jim Wright (D), former House speaker from Fort Worth.

This unwarranted subsidy to a thriving airport should get the attention of U.S. Rep. John Mica (R-FL), who is also chairman of the House aviation subcommittee. He would be doing all air travelers a favor by introducing legislating killing the Wright Amendment, says the Tribune.

  • Wright's meddling limited upstart Southwest Airlines, headquartered at Love Field, to flights within Texas and adjacent states; the wrong-headed idea was to prevent it from competing with the big airlines flying out of Dallas-Fort Worth.
  • Hutchison has not pushed for change; she has said she wants to make sure local taxpayers are protected but she should note that the low-fare airlines are the ones making money these days.
  • And she should further note that competition with a smaller airport across the bay doesn't hurt Tampa International Airport; competition with Fort Lauderdale doesn't hurt Miami.

Competition is why the airline industry was deregulated and why most Americans can now afford to fly, says the Tribune.

Government interference with free markets raises prices and protects inefficiencies, and that's what has happened in Dallas. But it's not just a Dallas problem. The law means higher ticket prices to get to Dallas from Florida and most other states, says the Tribune.

Source: Editorial, "Time To Repeal Daft Law That Limits Flights To Dallas," Tampa Tribune, April 21, 2005.

 

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